The Basilica of St. Mary Formosa dates back to the 6th century. It is an exceptionally important Early Christian monument. Unfortunately, only the south chapel, shaped as a Greek cross, has been preserved.
Located in the south of the old town core, St. Mary Formosa is one of the most significant Early Christian monuments of the Byzantine art and architecture in Istria and Croatia. It was commissioned by Archbishop Maximianus of Ravenna from the vicinity of Rovinj, who also had San Vitale and San Appolinare in Classe erected, both in Ravenna.
The magnificent three-nave basilica was divided into three naves by columns, which interior rhythm was repeated on its exterior perimetral walls, the window division and blind arch lesenes. The sanctuary was completed by three polygonal arches and two side chapels next to it. Only the south chapel has been fully preserved until today, while the major part of the northern one was built into the neighbouring residential buildings.
The basilica's northern wall is today visible only as a fence surrounding the neighbouring garden. The chapel is designed as a Greek cross, one of which arms ends in a semi-circular axis, while its central part, the point where the two arms cross, is higher than the others. The sanctuary is covered by the quadro-pitched roof, while the remaining part of the structure has dual-pitched roofs. The exterior is simple, decorated by shallow lesenes, blind arches and semi-circular windows. It got ruined, especially during the 1242 fire at the time of the Venetian conquest of Pula. A large portion of its inventory was shipped to Venice, where it was used in building the St. Mark's Library or Sale delle quattro porte of the Doge's Palace.
In the late 16th century, the basilica was already in ruins.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.